Saturday, March 06, 2010

A.R.E. You Reclaiming the [insert letter here] Word?

Shrimp here. It's been some time since we last checked in with former ELCA pastor/seminary professor Kelly Fryer and A Renewal Enterprise. But we were clicking links on Facebook and found ourself on the page for a Facebook group called "Reclaiming the E Word" with a photo of the cover of Fryer's Augsburg Fortress "Lutheran Voices" book of that title.

What struck us was the group's description, which begins:
If you are a member of a mainstream congregation in a mainline denomination (ex. Lutheran-ELCA, Episcopalian, United Methodist, American Baptist, United Church of Christ, PresbyterianUSA, etc.) it is likely that...
So far, so good. They're speaking to us. Here, though, is where it gets really interesting:
...it is likely that you are sick and tired of being held captive by the handful of people these days who seem to have hijacked the Christian faith and turned Jesus into a poker-faced, stick-in-the-mud, my-God-is-bigger-than-your-God, straighten-up-or-else-you’re-going-to-hell, rule-making, line-drawing, fear-mongering, gay-bashing, reason-defying, science-ignoring, flag-waving, saber-rattling, school yard bully. If anybody dares to question this picture of Jesus or suggests that maybe we’ve gotten just a little off track, they are branded. Heretics. Pagans. Traitors. Anti-nomians (don’t ask!). Liberals. Sometimes I wonder why we aren't rising up, in one single fluid we’re-not-going-to-take-this-anymore movement, to shout with our loudest outside voices that THIS IS NOT THE JESUS WE KNOW!
Oh dear. The group says it's created by Kelly Fryer herself.

Is that what she really thinks of us?

We're shocked!



No, not that she thinks of us that way. We're shocked that anyone could imagine that the ELCA, UCC, Episcopal Church, et al are being "held captive" by that sort of, uh, primitive Christians. Anyway, she continues:
...THIS IS NOT THE JESUS WE KNOW!

But it’s time.

It is time for us to share the really good news about God’s loving mission to save, heal, forgive, reconcile, and set free the whole creation…and every single person in it. It’s time for us to get the Word out about Jesus, who sought after and welcomed those who had been cast aside; who shared his Table with everyone, no questions asked and no exceptions made; whose radical, reckless love has torn down every wall that separates us from God and from each other.

It is time for us to dare to deliver a message this world of ours is dying to hear.

It is time for those of us who think of ourselves as mainline or progressive Christians to reclaim our evangelical identity.
And you might want to think on that a bit if A.R.E. and Kelly Fryer or her associates are invited to your synod (granted, we've not yet heard of any ELCA gigs for 2010) to help enable you to thrive in the 21st century.

Good thing we're shellfish. Otherwise, a book called Reclaiming the "E I" Words might hurt.

Shrimp out.

13 comments:

David Charlton said...

Kelly Fryer may not have any gigs yet for 2010, but she made a tour through Florida this fall. She was hosted at ELCA congregations in the Jacksonville and Orlando areas. Her "victory tour" as I call it was promoted heavily on Florida-Bahamas Synod website. I consider it a giant middle-finger from the synod to all traditionalists in the synod.

Steven said...

Amen to Kelly! I am glad someone is reaching the masses. Someone needs to help reclaim those who have "lost" their way from the church because they see it as nothing more than hypocritic haters of others!

Scallop said...

Inquiring Shellfish-watchers want to know: Why is it necessary to reclaim something one hasn't lost?

Scallop pleads for a bit o' the 8th (commandment)... Being both orthodox and evangelical is not an oxymoron, except perhaps in ... well, in the spirit of the 8th, I'd best just leave it at that.

Eric Jonas Swensson: said...

Is it really "reaching people" if you have a message that isn't true?

I waited 24 hours to reply to this. I don't wish to pick a fight or repeat myself (again). I was shocked to read how people like myself have been painted. I am glad I decided to leave the ELCA. Fryer's words above only proves what I thought. These are irreconcilable differences.

I wasn't going to reply but I was reading O. Hallesby "Why I Became a Christian, and he wrote of people who are offended by Christianity and have to change it to make it palatable. He suggests we read Matthew 11.6.

Scallop said...

Eric asked:
Is it really "reaching people" if you have a message that isn't true?

Oh, yeah, it is "reaching people" alright ... as in reaching out and clutching someone with false hope. (Remember those ordination vows?)

Reminds me of the folks who say about winsome-ly false teachers: "But, they're so sincere about what they believe." Sincerely wrong, that is. Unfortunately, they will win some.


That's why we're Semper Ref...LHMUU (Lord, have mercy upon us.)

Scallop said...

Eric asked:
Is it really "reaching people" if you have a message that isn't true?

Oh, yeah, it is "reaching people" alright ... as in reaching out and clutching someone with false hope. (Remember those ordination vows?)

Reminds me of the folks who say about winsome-ly false teachers: "But, they're so sincere about what they believe." Sincerely wrong, that is. Unfortunately, they will win some.


That's why we're Semper Ref...LHMUU (Lord, have mercy upon us.)

Jake said...

I have little respect for Ms. Fryer. Not because of her beliefs, but because she left the ELCA. Our Lutheran tradition of protesting and working to reform the church we're a part of is one of our greatest traditions, and it is a testament to our ability (and struggle) to testify, disagree, and still love one another. The people who run off (or threaten to) to make their own exclusive clubs instead of working with the existing, baptized and communing body are not honoring their Lutheran roots. The people who threaten to make churches intolerable so that the differently minded leave are not honoring their Lutheran roots. I don't recall Paul writing a letter titled "My Favorite Reasons for Abandoning Corinth!" We have fallen far as a church.

Eric Jonas Swensson: said...

Rev Jake needs to hit the books. The Bible(see Paul, esp.)and Lutheran history.

Jake said...

Eric,
I seem to recall having seen those books once or twice..I don't remember Paul cutting and running, and I seem to remember Luther had to be thrown out before he stopped working from inside. I also remember a time in recent history when Lutherans gave in to self-righteousness and anger and the Missouri Synod split; I don't recall that as a proud moment for us. Maybe you're referring to some more noble moment in our history, and I would truly appreciate direction to whatever book THAT is in.

If you think by my comment I agree with Ms. Fryer's position on sexuality; I don't. But I think it's worse to break the communion by turning our backs than it is to be wrong about marriage. If you disagree that's fine; my church is big enough for us both.

Eric Jonas Swensson: said...

My congregation left the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) for Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC). We followed every step as outlined in the Constitution. We discussed the need to make a decision for over three years after five years of the “Journey Together Faithfully”. Therefore, please never use the expression “cut and run” with those who have reached this painful decision. Our basis for this , as we told the bishop and then the synod council, was that the ELCA had two different ways of interpreting the Bible than we did and a majority seem to be using the “contextual” (which is actually just Reader Response the most subjective hermeneutic possible).

We made our decision before the Assembly of August 2009 (the one where God voted with a tornado). There was no reason to wait. We were part of the Metro NY Synod where the policy, which passed in August, had already been put into effect.

I have great sympathy for those who remain, expect the same consideration from them, and really do not appreciate any hectoring or lecturing.

It is clear that Lutherans have always affiliated with others based on the Confessions. This new idea of “Big Tent” is yet another idea brought in from our culture.

Here are just three verses from Scripture to think about. They speak to my mind and it is very unlikely any argument from any person is going to change my understanding.

Matthew 10:37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me…”

Romans 16:17-18 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty."

The ELCA has proved itself to be institution and not a church. It has actually officially brought dis-communion within itself. We cannot agree with the idea that the well-being of any institution stands above one’s understanding of the Truth. “Jesus said, ‘I am the way, and the truth and the life.’” (John 14:6).

Peace be with you.

Jake said...

Eric,
I'm sorry, I thought you were still in the ELCA. I saw a recent post of yours from this month that I'm copying from here:
"BTW, I am a member of the ELCA, WordAlone, CORE and will be in NALC. Does that make me an acrobat? Not from where I stand."
I would not have guessed from that you had left.

I was not trying to criticize your congregation. However, I am orthodox, and I think it more important to stay and resolve differences than leave.

On a different note, you object to hectoring and lecturing? That seems to be what this website is all about...

Anonymous said...

Hey Eric,

Good Scripture posts. Perhaps one that is most relevant to this discussion is the one in which Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 6 that one should not even eat with someone who calls himself a brother but supports sexual immorality. Their support of such things destroys the fellowship and makes them to the OHCAC as an unbeliever who needs to repent and be reintroduced to the teachings of our Lord.

Therefore the ELCA has become that one with whom we ought not even to eat. I do not mean at all that we shouldn't talk with and invite ELCA members and clergy to "get out." I mean that we cannot be in the same church, for in fact the actions of the ELCA mean we cannot be in fellowship. They have caused a schism.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler, Pastor
Trinity-Bergen Lutheran Church

Scallop said...

FWIW, Kelly Fryer and A.R.E. are featured in the latest edition of The Lutheran. As a result, Scallop is all the more encouraged to continue reclaimation efforts via The Word alone -- and that's not the word according to KF.

Semper Ref.

The good ship ELCA...

The good ship ELCA...
Or the Shellfish blog...